day 25 // what day is it and the month is almost over.

Well, clearly in this 31 day challenge I have failed.  Where have the past 10 days gone? Wow.  So much stuff has been going on, that I’ve just not had time to sit and write a post.  But I think more than that, I haven’t had the energy to write.  Family life has been hard the past 10 days.  My Grandfather is going through a hard time and hasn’t talked to me in over a week.  If you’re a regular reader here, you know that I love him so much and spend a lot of time with him.  That’s been hard and has really knocked me off my game.  Please pray for him.  He’s had a hard time with the 1 year mark since my Granny died.  I’m hoping we can get back to our great relationship soon.

In better news…  Jack is amazing.  This is such a fun age!  He thinks things through so much.  He says things out of his own mind and doesn’t just repeat things, and it is amazing.  I love having conversations with him and just listening to him talk.  Such a fun age!  He is really looking forward to next week and getting to dress up for Halloween.  Last weekend we went to the pumpkin patch and had so much fun!




It’s going to be a great weekend!  Tommy worked very long days all week, so he and Jack are going to spend some time together.  Tonight Tennessee is playing Alabama — big game for us!  So we will be cheering hard for the Vols!  I hope you have a happy Saturday!  Tomorrow I will be sharing some pictures from Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on the 15th.



back in action.

I can’t believe it’s been a whole summer already.  A packed full, active, adventurous summer has gone by, and I haven’t shared much of any of it here.  It’s been a good break.  At first I missed writing posts so much that something would happen and I would immediately think I need to blog about this!  But as the summer went on that quickly slipped my mind, and here were are on September 2nd [!!!!] and I’m all like here we go back to blogging.  It’s good though.  I definitely missed being active on the blog, but mostly just missed you all!  


JT at the beach
One of my favorite pictures of Jack from this summer.  My sweet boy!  


I want to share some of the stuff we were up to this summer — I won’t bore you with every detail — but some of our more fun things.  Plus we’ve been busy working on our house.  We’ve been making it a little more us and a little less standard, which we always love to do.  So I have plenty to share from that.  But first I want to hear how your summer was!!  What was the biggest thing that happened for you this summer?  The most fun that you had?  Your best adventure?  Or most disgusting moment — like the time I dropped my phone in the hazardous waste basket at the doctors office after just having a procedure done.  Not even kidding.  



I would love to hear from you all!  Share in the comments below, email me, or share on facebook.  Can’t wait to catch up with you!  Happy fall is on the way to you!  

short on words.

I have been short on words for the blog lately.  I’ve sat down to write multiple times and just come up with nothing.  My mind has been preoccupied with several things lately, and I found myself knee-deep in them with little room to think of other things or other people.  I don’t like being in that place – although it has happened a lot this year.  Thankfully, this week I’m a little bit clearer in my mind. 


I have plenty of things to share and sure enough a lot is happening at home, at work, with Jack, with Tommy, and with me.  But I feel quiet.  My family and friends around me a lot may disagree 🙂  but feeling quieter lately. 


I realized the other day that this is the first year of my life where I am not looking forward to fall.  Fall is one of my favorite times of year.  And usually I am so ready for summer to be over that I start getting ready for fall as soon as reasonably possible.  I wear jeans and boots, put up fall decorations, start wearing sweaters, and get geared up for all of the fun there is in the fall – hay rides, raking leaves, bonfires, pumpkin spice everything, pumpkin muffins, the mountains, the colors, etc.  This year I haven’t thought about fall at all.  In fact, I was even caught off guard by days recently that felt like fall.  In my mind I was thinking that it couldn’t possibly be fall yet.  That’s when I realized that I wasn’t even looking forward to fall this year. 


I think it’s because this whole year I have focused on the summer.  I never made it passed the summer in my mind.  With my due date of May 26th, and May being our special month I had built that month up, and then tried to prepare myself as best as possible for what would come next – be it a baby at home with us for a little while or no baby to bring home.  I was so thankful that we made it to May with Gabriel.  That was a gift.  Then he was born, then he died, then we came home from the hospital and life continued on.  We did summer.  We did summer, and life, as best as we could – the best way we knew how or could muster having lost a child.  It wasn’t the best summer.  It wasn’t a great summer.  And in fact, we didn’t even get to do the things we wanted to do, the things we thought we would do, because of my health problems.  We had to shift our plans and our thinking yet again.  But we survived.  We made it through the summer, and now we’re on the other side and I have no clue what we’re doing. 


I never planned for fall in my head.  I never got further than the summer.  I never made any plans of what we’d do or how we’d get through the fall or the winter or the spring.  And now the seasons are changing, and it seems to just reaffirm that Gabriel isn’t here with us and life continues to just move on.  We don’t get to do fall with him.  And quite frankly, I have no clue how to do my favorite season with a broken heart. 


It also feels as if the season of Gabriel will come to a close if we move on into fall.  And I think that is the biggest reason that I am fighting fall.  This whole year has been about Gabriel.  I had him at the beginning of the summer, and summer was our time to remember him, celebrate him, and mourn our loss of him.  Now we are faced with the challenge of moving on yet again and finding ways to honor him in every season.  I certainly will accept that challenge, but my heart is having a hard time letting go.  Letting go of the hot days and warm nights that were spent crying out.  Letting go of the days of the sun beating down on us as we stood on his grave at the cemetery.  Letting go of the ever-present sunshine that seemed to bring cheer to the gloomiest days of our lives.  Letting go of the freedom of summer that allowed us to be a little more relaxed and to freely mourn.  And now we must usher in the days of fall.  The cooler, crisper, lovely days that signal a change in season for the weather and for our lives.  We’ve mourned the death of our son for more than a third of a year now.  Grief is a funny thing, the way it is, and we continue to learn more the more we walk in it.  The changing of the seasons brings on more grief in itself, but I can’t help but believe that God designed it that way for a reason.  So we continue on, and this year I reluctantly accept that fall is coming, if not already here. 




I finally took my summer wreath off my door yesterday, and replaced it with a fall decoration.  It took me awhile, and is my first step forward in accepting fall. 

boomsday, labor day, and weekend fun.

There’s not much better than a long weekend.  Especially when a long weekend kicks off Staycation 2013.  Tommy wasn’t able to get off work when we went to the beach earlier in the summer, so he’s taking a couple of days off this week for some fun and rest.  We started Friday night off with Calhoun’s.  So good!  And then Jack had a blast playing with all the little girls who live on our street.  They’re like little mamas to him – which is working out really well for everyone, I think.  🙂 


Saturday was the first football game of the season.  It’s so fun that it’s exciting again!  We have a new coach and things are looking up this season.  A 45-0 victory was a good start to the season.  And a game with no penalties pretty impressive.  We enjoyed watching the game.  Even Jack was into it! 






Sunday morning we visited the cemetery after church.  Some of the leaves are starting to change colors there.  The seasons are getting ready to change. 






Sunday was Boomsday.  For those who don’t live in Knoxville, Boomsday is the largest Labor Day fireworks show in the nation.  It’s huge and impressive and one of my favorite Knoxville events ever.  I have such fond memories of Boomsday.  My dad used to work at the hospital that was right on the river where they shoot off the fireworks.  So we would go there to watch and have the best view.  They would have games and food and then we’d spread out blankets and watch the fireworks.  It also used to be on Labor Day, so we’d get to stay out really late on a school night.  Over time, they changed it to Sunday night before Labor Day, and I’ve watched Boomsday from a lot of locations.  In my hospital room at Children’s as a kid, from the top of my dorm as a college student, from the top of parking garages, and down by the river with the crowds of Knoxville.  Another part of why I love Boomsday so much is that Tommy and I met at Boomsday 8 years ago.  Yesterday was our 9th Boomsday together! 


We actually didn’t go yesterday, which was disappointing.  But since I have become heat intolerant this summer, and it was 89 degrees yesterday, it just didn’t seem like the best idea.  And even more so, Jack has had a cold and cough for the past several days, and second hand smoke is a big irritant for his reactive airway disease, so we thought the cough + smoke might not be good for him.  But we did let him stay up and watch it on TV and he was so very excited to watch fireworks on TV. 



And he wanted to take a picture of them.  On the TV.  In the dark. 




Today we are enjoying an extra weekend day and going to my parents’ for a cookout and some home made ice cream. 



Happy Labor Day!! 


I read this blog every chance I get.  It’s beautiful and encouraging and full of truth.


I gave Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, to my mom, Granny, and mother-in-law for mother’s day.  One day I will steal borrow one of their copies so I can read it.


I love that she makes a point of counting our blessings, of what we’re thankful for.  Today I am so thankful.  Here are 10 things:


1.  A sweet neighbor who watched my precious boy when I was in a bind and had to go to work.  So thankful for her giving heart and how it blessed us.


2.  Chocolate chip cookies.  I made a winning batch the other day and they are delicious.


3.  Fall.  I have written about my fall excitement and readiness and it just keeps getting better and better.  It’s been chilly outside in the mornings and evenings.  Chilly.  I’ve been waking up cold during the night.  It is awesome.  So thankful.


4.  Thankful for our jobs.  Tommy’s that supports us and mine that is enjoyable and also a blessing.


5.  Thankful that God always provides.


6.  Playing outside in this glorious weather.  Tommy’s been working late this week and we have been running around on the street or at the playground having fun, enjoying the weather, and getting energy out.


7.  A husband who brings home IceDream for me at the end of a long, stressful day.



8.  A little boy who looks up at me and smiles when I catch him by surprise.




9.  A baby boy who is no longer a baby but rather a little boy who’s favorite game is to be chased.


10.  The sweetest giggle I’ve ever heard and it’s increasing frequency.

random wednesday.

Several random thoughts running together for today’s post.  So much randomness.

First — my is Parenthood.  I’ve been hooked since the beginning.  I’ve seen every episode multiple times.  You know how people say things like this so that you know that they like the show more than anyone else and are a super fan?  Yes, that’s why I’m saying this.  I’m hardcore.

So back to this new season.  Oh my.  Last night’s episode brought tears again.  EVERY WEEK, I tell ya.  Here’s what I love about the show.  It’s real.  People aren’t just happy living dreamy, tv lives.  It’s real.  It’s hard.  It’s joyful.  It’s got conflict, resolution and all in between.  People talk over each other like crazy.  It’s real.

If any of you are fans here are  my questions—  did you cry last night?  Isn’t the Julia/Victor relationship shaping up beautifully?  But the bigger, looming question — How can this be?  I feel like Christina is my best friend and I’m in shock that this is happening.  Anyone else?  Am I crazy?

B.  Ever been really sure about something and then realize it’s not the perfect plan you came up with?  Besides that happening often, it really smacked me hard in the face this week.

#3.  Tonight felt like FALL Y’ALL.  I recently wrote about my fall is coming excitement showing my new fall door decoration.  Tonight I’m a step further to my fall excitement.  We played outside for an awesome while tonight enjoying the amazing weather.  Think COOL, breezy, and slightly chilly.  That’s right.  Hello low of 48!

#4.  Little man and I had a sweet, sweet day together.  Most days are sweet but this one was especially so.  When Jack was a newborn we would be up and down throughout the night and as the typical day started out I would do all I could to just stay above water.  But around 4 pm each day, I would realize that the day was winding down and so was my time with him for that day.  I would treasure those evening hours, trying to get each moment out of them.  Then as I laid him down to sleep at night, I would thank him and God for such a sweet day, and be caught up in a moment of both intense joy and a slight saddened tug on my heart that I had to say goodnight to him.  Even though I knew I’d see him in 2-3 hours.  That’s newborn love.

Last night one of those moments caught me by surprise.  Jack’s still so sweet, but with a toddler those moments are more few and far between than they used to be.  Tommy was working late, so there was no evening diversion for Jack.  [He loves seein his daddy in the evenings for some serious play and love time].  Jack was especially tired, so we headed outside for some fun.  Somewhere in between there and bathtime, pjs, stories, and bedtime that moment of intense joy and a saddened heart returned.  I am blessed by that.

So here are my thoughts to leave you with today:

I hope the weather is just as beautiful where you are.

Please tell me someone else is hooked on Parenthood, too??  And by hooked, I mean sitting on the couch, compulsively rewinding over and over, shoving cookies in your mouth, and crying.  Just me?

gettin’ ready for fall.

School has started.  The days are getting shorter.  The weather is getting cooler.

Fall is coming!

In honor of fall’s arrival, I took down our summer wreath today and put up a welcome to fall.

We’re ready!